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  • Escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. This prescription drug is used to help treat a number of mental health disorders.

    Those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), major depressive disorder (MDD), or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can find their symptoms eased by the antidepressant medication Lexapro.

    However, this drug may cause a number of side effects in both men and women.

    Lexapro Side Effects In Women

    The side effects of escitalopram can vary depending on a number of factors, including the sex of the person taking the antidepressant. For instance, women may experience heavy menstrual periods.

    Women who discover they are pregnant should contact their doctor right away as Lexapro may pass from the mother to the baby through breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, taking Lexapro may lead to health problems for the child.

    Lexapro Side Effects In Men

    Men taking Lexapro may experience separate side effects compared to women, especially when it comes to sexual health. In fact, some of the potential side effects of Lexapro in men include sexual dysfunction.

    Difficulty maintaining an erection or problems with premature ejaculation and sexual health can occur. In addition to these side effects, women and men may both have urination difficulties.

    Common Side Effects Of Lexapro

    According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some of the common side effects of Lexapro may consist of:

    • weakness
    • sweating
    • constipation
    • nausea
    • dry mouth
    • yawning
    • sexual problems
    • anxiety
    • weight loss or weight gain
    • trouble sleeping

    If a person abruptly stops their Lexapro medication, they may also experience severe withdrawal symptoms

    Rare Side Effects Of Lexapro

    Some who take Lexapro may experience a worsening of their mental health symptoms. For instance, severe changes in mood, irritability, and panic attacks can occur.

    Rare side effects may take place and can include:

    • eye pain
    • drowsiness
    • hypertension
    • nose bleeds
    • fever
    • difficulty concentrating
    • vomiting

    In addition to these symptoms, a person may experience an allergic reaction which will require immediate medical attention. If you notice any of the symptoms or signs of an allergic reaction, such as a rash or difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

    Suicidal Ideation

    According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), suicidal thoughts can occur in those being treated for MDD. These suicidal ideations may not only occur in adults, but adolescents and young adults as well.

    Side Effects In Those With Certain Medical Conditions

    Serious side effects can take place in those who have certain medical conditions. For instance, adverse effects may occur in those with glaucoma, those with heart problems, and those with mental illness.

    Those with glaucoma or a family history of glaucoma may be advised by their prescribing doctor to avoid Lexapro due to the potential eye pain which can occur.

    If you have a family history of bipolar disorder or you suffer from mental illness, speak with your healthcare provider in detail regarding the medications to avoid, as well as any medical conditions that may be of concern.

    Side Effects From Drug Interactions

    Although those taking Lexapro can experience side effects, these effects can be worsened when Lexapro is combined with other substances, legal or otherwise. To avoid adverse effects or drug interactions, consult the medical advice of your doctor before taking:

    • other SSRIs such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), fluvoxamine (Luvox), and paroxetine (Paxil)
    • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
    • citalopram (Celexa)
    • supplements and vitamins
    • blood thinners such as warfarin
    • pimozide (Orap)
    • opioids
    • ibuprofen
    • amphetamines
    • certain over-the-counter medicines
    • alcohol
    • serotonin and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as duloxetine (Cymbalta)
    • St. John’s Wort

    Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) should be also avoided while taking Lexapro:

    • tranylcypromine (Parnate)
    • linezolid (Zyvox)
    • isocarboxazid (Marplan)
    • phenelzine (Nardil)
    • methylene blue
    • selegiline (Emsam)

    When combined with other antidepressants, a dangerous medical condition known as serotonin syndrome may occur. Those suffering from serotonin syndrome may experience shivering, seizures, or a fast heart rate.

    Lexapro Overdose

    Those who abuse Lexapro or combine the drug with other substances, you may have an increased risk of developing a life-threatening overdose.

    An overdose of Lexapro may produce the following symptoms:

    • convulsions
    • fluctuations in blood pressure
    • fast heart rate
    • hallucinations
    • nightmares
    • coma

    If you or a loved one struggles with prescription drug abuse, contact us to speak with one of our healthcare professionals today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Food and Drug Administration - Lexapro
    National Alliance on Mental Illness - Escitalopram
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Antidepressants
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Escitalopram
    National Library of Medicine: StatPearls - Escitalopram

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on January 31, 2023
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